Malaysiakini has won an innovation grant from the Google News Initiative (GNI), the US-based technology company’s journalism programme.
It is one of 23 winners of GNI’s Asia-Pacific Innovation Challenge, the results of which were announced in a Google blog post last night.
According to Google's head of news and publishing partnerships Kate Beddoe, the inaugural competition is aimed at “strengthening our support of digital innovation and new business models in news organisations across the Asia-Pacific region”.
She announced that a total of US$3.2 million (RM13.0 million) would be given to the grant recipients.
Malaysiakini is one of two Malaysian winners, the other being The Star’s R.AGE team.
Other winners include Singapore Press Holdings that runs several newspapers including the Straits Times, Indonesia’s Tempo, and the Australian edition of The Guardian.
There were 215 applicants from 18 Asia-Pacific countries that entered the competition, which involved finding new ways to generate reader revenue.
The winning proposal
Malaysiakini’s winning proposal, “Kini Community”, will introduce a subscription model incorporating community rewards and recognition for readers.
It aims to create a points-based reward system and loyalty programme that incentivises readers to engage further with Malaysiakini and its community.
“Malaysiakini has always been about the readers. We're really happy that the grant will help us provide more ways for our readers to interact with Malaysiakini and other readers.
“We strongly believe a more engaged readership is key to supporting an independent and credible media,” said Malaysiakini’s chief executive officer Premesh Chandran.
The proposal was jointly written by Premesh, senior product manager Sean Ho, and sub-editor Koh Aun Qi.
Grant recipients are expected to create a product within one year and share their findings with Google and the wider journalism community after their project is completed.